By Abbie Tamber
Driving down the highway with the window ajar enough for a dog to poke his head out, nose taking in all the scents and ears blowing in the wind ... sounds like a dog’s dream. “My dog loves sticking his head out the window!” There really could not be a problem with this! Think again.
While I have heard only of one incident of a dog being injured when the window was partially closed on his throat, I am surprised more accidents of this type don’t happen. Automatic window buttons usually close a window by pulling up so a dog can’t step on them, but some older model cars might have buttons that push down to close. The more likely cause of a dog getting his neck caught in a window would be a child inside of the car playing with the window buttons. A sudden change in the car’s path like swerving to avoid a deer or a big bump in the road may cause a dog to lose his balance and “fall” on the window. Heaven forbid if the window was open wide enough for the dog to fall out!
Anyone who has ridden a motorcycle without goggles or a windshield knows how much it hurts to get hit in the face by a bug when riding at high speeds. Getting hit by a bug or stung by a bee have a high probability of occurring when a dog has his head out the window. Getting a speck of dust in an eye is not only painful, but can cause damage at these speeds.
Another way dogs experience the “wind in their ears” is in the beds of pickup trucks. I am in awe of these dogs. It must take an inordinate amount of training. However, being in the uncovered bed of a pickup is never a good thing for a dog. Even when the truck is parked in a lot, the dog is exposed to the elements. On hot days, if the bed of a truck is not in the shade, it gets incredibly hot back there. Touch the metal of the bed and you will see. Did you know that dogs can get sunburned? While driving, not only is your dog once again in the way of blowing debris and bugs, but the temperatures are much colder at speeds. During the winter it is dangerous to expose your dog to such temperatures. Once again your dog can easily lose its balance standing in the bed. At best he may just get bruised from the fall, at worse he may fall out or get thrown from the bed.
So even though your dog enjoys his ears flopping in the wind, the safest place for a dog to ride is in the car with you with the windows closed.
Need your dog to behave? Abbie Tamber provides personalized traing to meet you and your dog’s needs. She can be contacted through abbietamber.com or firstname.lastname@example.org.